Tag Archives: literary rejections

Ringing in the new year with a rejection-o-rama

Since its last update, I’ve been rejected an additional 14 times. Most of them have involved that same long story that The New Yorker and Paris Review liked but didn’t take. That one has been rejected 30 (yep – thirty) times so far, and is awaiting dismissal at 8 other places as we speak. When some editor finally sees fit to grab hold of this story, it’ll rate its own post on its own long strange journey.

Not going to go relive all the rejections, except to say that the turn-downs from Needle (I WILL CRACK THAT MARKET SOMEDAY, GODDAMMIT) and Shimmer and The Pedestal and Unstuck and CutBank were encouraging. Not nearly as encouraging as an acceptance, but hey.

The Failure list has been updated.

Rejections #246 – 248 – A-Minor puts honesty above palhood, A Public Space pushes me to some negative progress, Fiddleblack form rejects

You’ve probably heard the old saw that you need friends to get published.  I’m here today to disprove that theory.  My pal Nicolette Wong, who often comments around here and is the new editor over at A-Minor, summarily rejected an experimental piece of mine, which I thought would be perfect for her, which I sent to her for that reason, especially after it had been rejected numerous time elsewhere.

Here’s what Nicolette had to say: “I appreciate the chance to read this piece. Unfortunately it’s not a snug fit for the zine. The story is there, but right now it’s not very sharp – it seems somewhat clogged by the writing.”

Nicolette put her aesthetic judgement above our netfriendship, and I am much appreciative.  Even if it meant another rejection on the pile.  Honesty’s the main fuel most lit mags run on.

The Literary Rejection Wiki informs me that I got a higher-tiered rejection for a piece, one that runs thusly: “Thank you for thinking of A Public Space for your writing. We aren’t the right magazine for this work, but we read it with care and interest, and we encourage you to send new work later this year.”

This is the same piece that’s been higher-tiered rejected at the New Yorker & the Boston Review and a couple others, and got a nice personal rejection from Shenandoah.  Negative progress, people.

Fiddleblack enjoyed reading my work &c.

Rejections #237 – 244 – Needle punches me in the gut, plus bonus higher-tiered rejections

Needle punched me in the gut again, kindly.  A nice couple paragraphs on why they weren’t going to take this piece.  To sum up: the piece wasn’t developed enough.  I shall persist.  I am persisting.  I sent them another story this morning.

The Other Room liked the writing, but felt the story (an experimental piece) was a little too loosely tethered.  To what, I’d like to know.

My latest Fantasy rejection was worded slightly differently, slightly more encouragingly than the last few!  A higher tiered rejection.  I’m taking it as progress.

Ditto from Bellevue Literary Review.  The Literary Rejection Wiki tells me so.

Glimmer Train, however, sent me the same old, same old rejection.

New Plains Review took 198 days to decide not to use my material.

Nano appreciates the chance &c.

Rejections #227 – 236

Too many to list in the title.  And worry not: acceptance news is forthcoming.  2 parcels of news, actually.  (You can take a sneak peek in the Published Short Stories page, if you’d like.)

Needle wanted something more developed.  This one stung.  I really wanted in that mag; and now they’re posting on FB that they’ve filled the next two (!) issues.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies sent along a long personal rejection, but a rejection nonetheless.  This one also stung.  I worked for weeks on the story I sent them, and had them in mind all along.   To the point where I am actually reworking the story, to send to them again.

Hey another one that stung – Shotgun Honey wants me to keep ’em coming.  Just not this one.  This one from a mag that’s already published a piece of mine.  I’m not going to lie – it’s a little maddening.  I shall persist.

Flashquake tells me I made it to Round 2, but no further.

Minnesota Review thanks me &c.

Esquire appreciated &c.

Ellery Queen thanks me but &c.

Southeast Review took 290 days to decide the piece didn’t fit the needs of their journal.

Lit took 180 days to decide likewise.

Southern Humanities Review cannot be bothered to use their full name in a form rejection email, preferring SHR.  I cannot be bothered to type out any portion of their form rejection (even though my not bothering took more characters than it would have to abbreviated their rejection.  Look, I have to have some standards.).

Acceptance news forthcoming.

Rejections #223 – 226: Hunger Mountain, ChiZine, Frigg, Frigg

Soon after I withdrew a flash from Frigg because it was picked up elsewhere (more on that later) I got a chatty personal note that the remaining 2 flashes I submitted were “not quite right” for Frigg.

Hunger Mountain thanks me &c.

My story does not meet ChiZine’s needs at this time.

Rejections #213-222: Ellery Queen, Ideomancer, Apex, Bull, Unstuck, Word Riot, Plots With Guns, Pulp Modern, Storyglossia, Barrelhouse

Hey, did you know there is a Rejection Wiki out there? Well, there is.  I’ll be adding all my rejection letters there from now on.  If you’re a writer, and you’re being rejected (I repeat myself), head on over and contribute.  I’ll all for lifting the shroud of secrecy that hovers over this submitting stuff.

Okay, on with the show.

Plots With Guns kindly considered a story that was 1000 words below their usual minimum requirement, which I appreciated.  Unfortunately, they found it to be a little too elliptical.  Not to worry, though – since I submitted the original piece, I’ve written a sequel, and good-hearted Sean O’Kane, editor, agreed to look at the two in tandem.  I’ll keep you posted.

Pulp Modern still ain’t buying what I’m selling, but I’ve submitted again because it’s an inaugural issue, and dammit, I want in there.

Ideomancer was “intrigued by the situation set up, but found the ending’s implications more interesting than the story itself.”  That hurts, a little, but I appreciate the comment.

Unstuck enjoyed the story and hopes I will submit again.  Okay.  Maybe I will.

Apex’s letter reads like a next-of-kin letter: We regret to inform you &c.  Don’t worry, Apex.  I’m not taking it that seriously.

Kevin O’Cuinn of Word Riot and I have played our last round of I-send-’em, he-rejects-’em for a while.  As with elimae, I don’t have any more stories coming down the pike that he’s likely to appreciate.

Ellery Queen gave my story careful consideration &c.

My story isn’t exactly what Bull is looking for.

Storyglossia appreciated &c.

Barrelhouse thanks me &c.

Rejections #211 & 212 – Digital Science Fiction and Pedestal

Digital Science Fiction has bad news.  Regretfully &c.

Pedestal – one of those places I’m going to crack one of these days, dammit! – enjoyed reading but &c.

Rejection #210 – elimae

elimae liked the writing, but it just wasn’t right for the mag.

Too bad, too, because it’s the last straight literary story I have the in the pipeline, so it’s unlikely I’ll be submitting there again in the near future.  I’m on to crime, fantasy, and SF.  Probably should pick a focus, but they’re all so damn fun.

Rejections #203-209: Dirty Noir, Shimmer, South Dakota Review, Jobbed, Electric Spec, Black Warrior Review, Pulp Modern

Doc O’Donnell, Senior Editor at Dirty Noir, looks to be the reigning king of personal rejections.  8 full paragraphs about why my latest submission wasn’t going to work at Dirty Noir.  Eight!  That’s some fucking overtime, man.  Needless to say, I’ll be taking another shot at it soon.

Shimmer, damn you, continues to tantalize with another nicely worded personal rejection.  At one point, E. Catherine Tobler referred to one section of the story thusly: “This felt like a skillet over the head.”  I appreciate the honesty, and I can handle it, believe me.  Given that I’ve got 209 rejections in under a year, no doubt she’s not the only one.  I really like Shimmer.  I’d really like to be in.  I’ll keep working on it.

Pulp Modern ain’t buying what I’m selling, but asked for more.  So I complied.

My story does not meet the needs of Electric Spec at this time.

Black Warrior Review has read my submission &c.

Jobbed will pass.

South Dakota Review thanks me &c.

Negative progress: Rejection #200 – Boston Review (plus bonus Rejections #201 & 202)

Rejection two-hundy was a doozy: a longish personal note from the Boston Review.  Boiled down, they said that while the story was imaginative and inventive, it could be restructured.  Not sure I agree, but their point is well-taken.

This is the same story that has received personal rejections from The New Yorker and Shenandoah.  Negative progress, I like to call it.  Being on the cusp.

Someone will take this story.  It’s still out at 10 places (and has been rejected at 13).

Crazyhorse took 7 paragraphs to tell me that this particular manuscript (which, obviously, had no particular resonance for them) wasn’t &c.

Fantasy got the same job done in 3 succinct sentences.